An urgent note arrived informing me that the hunt will be delayed by a day. The South African authorities decided that all minors under 18 years of age need to have their unabridged birth certificate with them. Alex was going to be 18 in 5 days time.
On arrival the threesome were tired but happy to be here. They were set up in a guest house and soon fell asleep after dinner.
The following morning could not arrive quick enough and directly after breakfast we set off in a westerly direction until we arrived at hunting camp.
First things first and we made sure the rifles we shooting where the operator was aiming. The two hunters did well and we returned for a snack before heading out to hunt.
As usual we glassed the property from a hill to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the property and hopefully to see animals. We were hunting for kudu, impala, warthog, zebra and whatever else we had a mind to.
On our way home we spotted a bachelor herd of impala and seeing we were there and had time decided to put on a stalk. Alex was shooting a 300 and Fred the trusty 30-06. Alex was first in line and the stalk was on. About 10 minutes into the stalk we came across the herd and picked the one we believed would suit us best. Alex was on the sticks and took the shot from about 70 yards out. Needless to say the impala was on his way to the USA.
This morning we woke to some really bad weather for this time of the year. Low clouds over the mountainside was an indication of what we could expect for the rest of the day.
The day started dark and ominous with rain clouds. We were not worried and started hunting after the traditional coffee and rusks session. Our goal was to try and find the hardest of the animals we wanted find as soon as possible to take pressure off our shoulders later in the hunt.
James knows his property extremely well and suggested we take a look at an adjacent section of property where we may just get lucky. It took us a while to get there because we stopped often to look at new things and listen to new sounds. I knew this section as I had been there before but this time we took a new side road I had not been on before.
At one point James said to stop and off he went. Within a few seconds he returned and asked we join him. His manner showed there was something worth our while to take a look at. And what a sight it was. On the opposite hill, about 200 yards away was a magnificent kudu grazing in the early morning sun. Once we had Fred steadied on a huge rock it was up to him to do the rest.
The silence was shattered by the 30-06 and the kudu knew not where what happened. None of us was willing to make a call apart from; reload. Fred did this and when the kudu stopped he let rip a second shot and this time we could see blood. The kudu ran into the thickets and we thought we heard it fall.
It was going to take us at last half an hour to drive round to where we last saw the kudu so James walked down the hill with Willy and Peter. 15 minutes later we saw happy faces and off we went.
What a beast and what a shot.
Brunch was great and the short rest before heading out was much appreciated. In the afternoon session we headed out to a different section of the property to try and find red hartebeest. On an overlook the herd was moving in as James had hoped they would. It took a very long time and no shot was offered so I went back to collect the truck. About halfway there a shot rang out and by the sound of the impact it sounded like a good shot. It proved to be a great shot as it fell where it stood.
We took the walk down the hill while the truck was driven to where the hartebeest lay. It turned out to be a magnificent old bull with heavy set horns. It was the correct time to harvest such an old timer.
The Scotch was sweet by the fire with a load off our shoulders. The following day was scheduled for impala, zebra, warthog and maybe at some point a giraffe.
The call came in during the evening. A giraffe hunt had been secured. And so it started.
The giraffe was to be hunted on a property in the vicinity so we left early to be there on time. It took quiet a while to locate these huge animals but when we finally did we got off the truck and started tracking. About 30 minutes into the walk one of the guys walking along notioned to where movement indivated the giraffe was.
The sound of huge hooves on hard ground told us we were far behind. Our tracking started all over and along the hunt huge Acacia tree thorns drew the attention of Mike so he snapped a few pictures. Another long stalk-and-track session and we found the giraffe. Alex was on the sticks and fired his 300 as the giraffe was turning away. This added a dose of speed to the giraffe and just before it ran behind some trees Alex let rip a second shot. At this point in time it has to be said that everything Alex shot at was a bang-flop. Whatever he shot at just flopped down after the bang so this was an overall new eperience to everyone that the giraffe did not drop dead in its tracks.
We listened for a while and there was a tremendous crash. We approached the huge animal and then only realized how big it was. The reason we harvested the animal was due to over population of male giraffe on the property. This gave rise to the dominant bulls killing other giraffe bulls they saw as competition in the giraffe society on that property.
After loading the giraffe with a tractor we saw a herd of zebra some distance away. It took the better part of 40 minutes to walk there when a zebra went ahead and offered a shot. Old Bang-Flop-Alex did not need a second invitation and the zebra ran for about 80 yards before expiring due to a perfect heart shot.
All the hunting made us hungry and after burgers headed back to our hunting property. Alex showed interest in a waterbuck with a broken horn as he felt it gave character to the animal. The rest of us were at the truck when we heard a shot slightly before sunset. Of course Alex did it again and the waterbuck lay where it once stood.
What a day it was.
In contrast to the previous day today was a very slow hunting day indeed.
We managed to cover a lot of ground and do a lot of walking but nothing crossed our path that we were interested in.
Bang-Flop only managed to harvest an old warthog right before sunset. At last something was in the salt.
Happy birthday Bang-Flop-Alex. Sweet 18 and never missed a kiss. We hope you will remember this day for years to come.
After coffee and rusks we head out on another wonderful day at the office. The road heads to the top of the hill so we can take a look at whats happening in the valley. On the way there we spot a tortoise and have to stop for a picture. Taking pictures like these add to your experience and enhances the feeling of being here. It is always sad when someone says: you know when we passed that tree there was a…? No I do not know and please stop me when you see something you would like to know more of.
Nothing much happen up on the hill apart from the couple baby warthog that entertained us every time we were there. This time we took time to take a few pictures that would hopefully put a smile on someones face at some point.
Mike saw a huge Aloe plant and foronce he posed without being threatened and even smiled.
We were looking for impala for Fred and decided to take a walk in an area we had not walked yet. After quite some time James spotted a lone male that presented the most difficult of all shots: a facing towards you shot at about 140 yards. The target is rather small and shooting from shooting sticks is a difficult task. Fred did really well for when the shot rang out it fell down on the spot. Both Jmaes and I urgently whispered to reload as such reactions from any animal means it was either a really great shot, or not. And so it was the latter. The impala jumped up before a second shot could be taken and off he went.
Judging by the blood we knew it was only a question of time before we would catch up to the impala. A few minutes later we caught up to it and Fred could administer the coupe de grace. Well done.
After brunch we heard Alex could choose a birthday gift in the form of a blue wildebeest. We were all very happy and headed out to a region where wildebeest come out into the open in the afternoons. The wind blew our cover and off the went with three of us running like the wind to get to an open spot from where we were hopeful to get a shot. The wildebeest ran into an opening and true to their nature, stopped. Before the wildebeest knew what happened the bull was hit by the 300 and took off like a bat from a hot place.
This time round the tracking lasted the whole of 15 minutes before we found it expired in the shrub. Great shot young man.
By the fire Alex was presented with some candy and a big birthday cake with a candle on it. Everyone was very happy with the day.
Anton, our Chef, made a special dinner that consisted of zebra tender loins and giraffe tongue. Zebra tender loins has to be the best meat in the business but that terribly long tongue did not ask me for second helpings. A strange flavor indeed.
We started winding down on the hunt and had a relatively easy start. One animal kept propping up in our conversations and so it was decided that mountain reedbok would surely be our next candidate.
Heading towards an area we knew we saw mountain reedbok on a regular basis our tracker said he saw a small group of them. Of course by the time we got there there was nothing to be seen.
Then we started calling the mountain reedbok. Alex was on the sticks and within 7 minutes of calling Fred said: there they are. With a single shot at 150 yards the mountain reedbok bought a one-way ticket to the US. Only problem was it was way down the hill and we were way up on the hill. Rule # 718 of hunting in Africa says: he who shoots is he who fetches. Alex is a very fit young man so after recovering the animal he walked all the way back up the hill without stopping to rest once. Age is not for sissies but we managed to get there in reasonable time.
On the way back to the lodge we were slightly tempted so we shot a huge impala after a short stalk. This was the closest we got to any of the animals and within 50 yards Alex could not make a mistake. He did himself justice.
The afternoon session saw us hunting nothing in particular but if birds stood still long enough the 22 would surely come to action. No such luck but the destructive vervet monkeys lost a member of their troop to a single shot from the 22.
The last night is never full of fun and just maybe there was a headache or two from the previous evening.
We just have to show a picture of the donkey. I have no idea why it is called the donkey but sure as rain thats the name it has. The donkey is a hot water geyser powered by fire. If you forget to make a fire you will have a cold shower. If on a cold night the fore goes out early you will shave with cold water. If you have too much fire you will shower the following morning. The math is not that difficult.
Also seen is a picture taken from the rear seat of what it looks like when traveling on the correct side of the road. It can be confusing at times when you look up and see a vehicle charging down on you, I know.
A picture with all the trophies usually takes place before leaving. A proud father and son with their trophies.
The other pictures are at the taxidermist shop where everything was explained in detail about the whole process.
Thank you Fred, Alex and Mike for making the hunt happen. You were great companions and I enjoyed your company a whole lot. All the best until we meet again.
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